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IBM talks smart software and open source

CeBit 2009 Linux business "worthwhile"
Thu Mar 05 2009, 18:32


THE GENERAL manager of IBM Germany, Martin Jette, took to the CeBit stage this morning to discuss IBM's "Smarter Planet" inter connectivity strategy, software, hardware and thoughts on open source.

Jette began by saying he reckoned all the firms faffing about trying to innovate their way out of the economic crisis were, in most cases, being counter-productive, noting sharply "activity for activity's sake is not what's needed."

Instead, Jette suggested companies would do better to make the technologies they already have work better together.

Organisations, Jette insisted, have to become more "digitally aware", in order to deal with problems like energy production/distribution, traffic and even healthcare in a "smarter" manner. He noted IBM had already partnered with SAP to build specialised energy networks allowing for remote metering to help users keep track of their energy consumption. He also cited an IBM experiment in Stockholm to help ease traffic on overcongested roads using a trial congestion charging system. Jette reckons the trial proved incredibly successful not only in cutting traffic, but also slashing CO2 levels.

IBM software, Jette said  now makes up 20 per cent of the firm's total sales, but  IBM was in no way interested in extending software to the applications sector. Jette said IBM would also continue with its strategy of not stepping on client and partners' toes by directly competing with them, a statement Cisco may beg to differ with him on.

"Middleware is the segment in which we are investing significantly," said Jette, adding that he believed open source was the key and saying IBM's "strategy is open systems". Jette emphasised it was IBM who had given Linux a significant push and noted: "the Linux business case has definitely been worthwhile".

Software aside, Jette also gave lip service to IBM's hardware commitments, admitting it was the sector which sucked up most of the firm's R&D cash. In case anyone questioned the wisdom of putting so many eggs in one basket, Jette pointed out all the logic processors in major consoles like the Xbox, Playstation and Nintendo were developed by IBM, so the effort was not in vain.

Ending on a green note, Jette suggested that "with so much technology available so cheaply" there really wasn't any good reason governments around the world couldn't start trying to tackle green issues.

As long as they use IBM technology of course. µ



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